• Question: Do you think Chemistry should be taught at primary school as well as secondary school?

    Asked by Anastasia to Sylvia, Sumit, Martin, Kate, Bryony, Aryanne on 4 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Martin McCoustra

      Martin McCoustra answered on 4 Mar 2019:


      I strongly believe that science and mathematics should be taught at primary school by teachers who have training in science and mathematics. I wouldn’t separate out the disciplines from science at that level.

    • Photo: Aryanne Finnie

      Aryanne Finnie answered on 4 Mar 2019:


      Definitely! I think it would allow younger kids to find their passion in science without having to “choose” subjects that they’ve never done before, which can be quite scary, especially when you’ve got loads of people telling you science and chemistry is hard! If it was taught at a younger age then maybe people wouldn’t be as scared to pick it or be more inclined to pursue it in high school!

    • Photo: Kate McGonagle

      Kate McGonagle answered on 4 Mar 2019:


      I think it might be quite hard to introduce specifically chemistry since then you would get all the other subjects kicking off about not being represented. I think there is a lot of learning going on in primary school and it might be a bit overwhelming to introduce more new subjects – but, I do think some science is already taught in primary school that starts to introduce some of the basic ideas. Like I can remember learning about static by rubbing a balloon on my head and looking ridiculous with hair on end (embarrassing). And, doing the cress experiment! A simple experiment but an experiment nonetheless where we had to record observations of trying to grow cress in different conditions (without water, without light, without both, with both). Maybe not complex chemistry – but starting to build the some of the skills already that you need! It has to start somewhere.

    • Photo: Sylvia Soldatou

      Sylvia Soldatou answered on 4 Mar 2019:


      I think that teaching chemistry at that young age might be confusing and hard to understand. I would say to have qualified teachers to teach science in general at primary school.

    • Photo: Bryony Hockin

      Bryony Hockin answered on 4 Mar 2019:


      I think secondary school is the right time to start learning chemistry, biology and physics are separate subjects. I do lots of fun chemistry activities with primary school students at science fairs and public science day and it always gets very messy! I think the best time to learn chemistry is when students are a bit older and can learn to do experiments and clean up after themselves (a very important skill for a chemist!) I also think that in primary school, it’s best to learn about science in general, especially the idea of asking questions e.g. why does this thing happen? That way when students start to learn chemistry in secondary school, they already know how to look at things like a scientist does. I remember doing a bit of fun chemistry in primary school when I was about 10, we made fizzing volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar. This is a good chemistry activity as it’s what we call “kitchen chemistry” – it’s very safe, easy to clean up, and it doesn’t need lots of chemistry knowledge either for the students to do or for the teacher to explain. It’s the kind of thing that students can do at home in their kitchen with the help of their parents – plus, it’s really fun!

    • Photo: Sumit Konar

      Sumit Konar answered on 5 Mar 2019:


      I believe chemistry should be taught at primary school. we always think chemistry means equations and lots of formulas to remember. Chemistry can be taught in a fun way at primary school without any reactions. I think it will be very nice to introduce chemistry to primary school with examples of food/chemicals we use in daily life. When they learn maths, they can also learn simple geometry of molecules. Chemistry model building will be another fun game they can do in primary school. They will know atoms are of different sizes, and they form molecule. After all this knowledge they will not be scared of chemistry at secondary school.

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